CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Kent's very own portrait prize winner, Charlotte Harris

PUBLISHED: 12:52 29 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:58 20 February 2013

Kent’s very own portrait  prize winner, Charlotte Harris

Kent’s very own portrait prize winner, Charlotte Harris

In the heart of Folkestone's Creative Quarter, Kent's very own portrait prize winner, Charlotte Harris, creates some mouthwatering pieces.

Words by Diana Crampton pictures by Manu Palomeque

A couple of years ago, I was in Charlotte Harris studio, admiring her burgeoning portrait of a mature woman. What struck me was the texture of the sleeve. It reminded me of the self-portrait of Raphael and Charlotte, knowing immediately which painting and pose I meant, said yes, Titian its in the National Gallery.

It was a commission for Diane Church and Charlotte was thinking of the famous Titian sleeve when she set up this portrait, and very successfully too.

So I was delighted when the opportunity arose to speak to Charlotte about her work, two years on. Walking into the studio was one of those particular artistic pleasures: the smell of oils, and the works in progress studded around walls and on easels.

In front of me is a mouthwatering boiled egg with soldiers, but its a canvas, and its a work in progress. Charlotte admits she had to cook herself an egg after working on the painting: Setting up the egg was great fun. The yolk looks scrumptious and the sandwich tasted good, too!

Charlottes prize-winning portrait for the BP National Portrait Award, Granny, went into the competition in January 2003 and won that summer, coinciding with the completion of her three-year BA at Leeds. From this she got several commissions, including most of the portrait commissions for the next five years and a slot on Womans Hour.

I had also seen more of Charlotte's portraits and the hyper-real still lifes at a show in Folkestones Georges House Gallery, under the aegis of Strange Cargo. Again I was to see that painstaking work on textures: a wonderful portrait of Charlottes sister in a red dress with a black overskirt in lace, which gave plenty of opportunity for detailed work.

Charlottes artistic heroes include the great masters, Titian, Rembrandt, Michelangelo and the Spanish Old Masters, such as Velezquez, as well as the Dutch Frans Hals. More recently, I love the work of Stanley Spencer and David Hockney," she adds. I enjoy looking around different galleries and I like Gwen John.

The love of the traditional does not mean eschewing an interest in the contemporary: There is such a massive wide range out there. I think there is some fantastic painting going on at the moment, much is photo-real and hyper-real. The way painting progresses in tandem with digital media is very interesting. However, Charlotte has always loved portraiture, and says she always will.

I ask Charlotte how she starts new projects. First, she may refer to the painters who inspire her. If Im stuck, Ill look at their work. With portraiture, the inspiration is often family and friends, people Im close to. With still life work, Im often inspired by an object, by the way light falls on it, even fruit in a supermarket, everyday things around me.

She adds: I love painting material and different textures and fabrics and getting that texture onto canvas. I love painting glass, the way it reflects and plays with light, it has a very magical quality.

On the wall, we look at the work in progress and I get a lesson in painting. These works start with a grisaille, a monotone with raw umbra. This sets out the tonal values for the painting, so when you glaze colour over the top it gives depth and realism and you work into those glazes and bring them up to the finished level. You can do glazes with acrylic, but I always use oil, adds Charlotte.

She enjoys working in the Creative Quarter and tells me. Its been good. Its developed a lot, particularly over the last four years. Ive met a lot of people and fellow artists. It has a nice community and the potential to grow even more.

Currently working on canvases for an art exhibition, you can see her work at the Fairfax Gallery, with five pieces on show, as part of a group exhibition, until the end of April.

Charlotte has taken part in the Affordable Art Fair in London and her ambition is to start exhibiting more, hoping to put portraits in open exhibitions in the capital.

Contact


Charlotte Harris can be found at her studio at 35-37 Tontine Street, Folkestone CT20 1JT,

%01303 212361 or

%07990 945457,

)charlotte-harris@hotmail.co.uk

You can also see her work at the Fairfax Gallery, 23 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TD,

%01892 525525, )andrew@fairfaxgallery.com


Charlotte Harris can be found at her studio at 35-37 Tontine Street, Folkestone CT20 1JT, 01303 212361 or 07990 945457,
charlotte-harris@hotmail.co.uk

You can also see her work at the Fairfax Gallery, 23 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TD, 01892 525525 andrew@fairfaxgallery.com

0 comments

More from Out & About

On the banks of the Medway and boasting great shopping, dining and cultural attractions, our county town is great to visit at any time of year

Read more
December 2018

In the final month of the 50th Anniversary of the Kent Downs AONB and 40th of the North Downs Way, we’ve chosen 25 places to visit and enjoy in the Kent Downs this winter

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

This walk is the best way to take in the majestic beauty of the Weald of Kent, linking the North Downs Way at Trottiscliffe with the South Downs Way near to Eastbourne

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Counteract all that festive over-indulgence with a winter walk through National Trust-owned Kentish countryside

Read more

This characterful little country town draws history lovers from near and far. Let’s explore Churchill’s beloved Westerham

Read more
November 2018

From Napoleonic forts and wartime shelters to ancient chalk mines, we explore some of Kent’s underground visitor attractions

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Wandering through a festive market with mulled wine in hand is one of the pleasures of the season, so we have picked some of Kent’s best Christmas markets to do just that

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Steam trains, vineyards, tea rooms and a surprising maritime history. We take a look at all this and more on offer in tempting Tenterden

Read more
October 2018
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Being so rich in history, it is hardly surprising that Kent is also a hub for hauntings and ghostly activity. We have gathered 9 of the spookiest locations in Kent to visit if you dare!

Read more

It may have been swallowed up by Greater London, but it still feels more like an idyllic Kentish village

Read more
October 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life